LOST SOCK SIGN!!

This is our first KRAMER VS KRAMER collaboration!!

-6The last time I was in Toronto I helped my best friend Shoshana organize her laundry room.

We had SO much fun (Yes, I love organizing/cleaning that much) that I wanted to make her something that would remind her of our fun time together!

I asked my Gerry if he would collaborate with me on a project. We came up with a fun idea, Gerry did an amazing water colour dragon painting, I made prints, assembled the sign, hand-wove the clothing line and Voila!!

The LOST SOCKS sign. We have them for sale in my store HERE.

Tell me what you think??  :)

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This and that …

I haven’t been blogging lately. Mostly because not much has been going on. I mean … that’s not true … I’m very busy. :)

The last little while I’ve fallen into a great schedule where I ride my bike down to Tattoo Zoo with Gerry in the morning and I go do Water Aerobics (yes every day) at the YWCA. Then I ride my bike home. Take Fergus for a long walk, make lunch and then run a few errands and head back downtown to pick up Gerry from work so we can get groceries and come home.

It’s the SAME routine pretty much every day and I have to say it’s pretty amazing having energy to do those few things. :)

I have decided to only do things that make me feel good and don’t stress me out. Life feels pretty sweet and simple right now and I’m enjoying every second of it.

Water Aerobics has really changed everything. It’s made me stronger, my stamina is SO much better and working out in the water every day makes me feel amazing and really helps with any residual joint/bone pane from my treatment last year.

I still have “claw hands” … but it’s a lot better. I am pretty sure the cancer treatment has given me mild arthritis and so it takes a few minutes to warm up my hands and feet in the morning but once I get going – everything is ok.

891515_680829175364535_660609408_nA few weeks ago I went to SWIMCO to look for a new suit and the ladies there were SO helpful. There is nothing more horrifying then looking for a new bathing-suit – especially when you only have one boob!! :)

Because I don’t wear a prosthetic in the pool I wanted a simple suit without foam cups so I can rock my uni-boob in the pool. I always seem to buy bathing suits 1 size too large and the ladies there made sure the suit I found fitted me properly.

I love my new Speedo suit!! And I’m going back to  SWIMCO to get another suit. I’m a swimming maniac!!

I gained about 20lbs last year during my cancer treatment and because it knocked me into menopause it’s been difficult to get the weight off. It’s not my main goal (to lose the weight) but when you lose a breast, lose ALL your hair and gain 20lbs … it’s difficult to keep your self esteem. I just want my waist back!!!

Last week I was standing in the kitchen (naked) making my morning smoothie and Gerry said “LOOK! Your waist is back!!” It made me feel good that all my hard work is paying off. I’m hoping that very soon I will be able to fit back into my closet full of beautiful clothes that are just sitting there taunting me. ;)

Right now I’m focused on getting STRONG. I love getting in the water every morning and working all my muscles. And all the older ladies in the water who gave me “poo poo” faces when I first started – now smile at me and give me advice.

One woman (I’d say she’s early 70’s) came up to me in the shower and pointed at my chest. “Breast cancer?” I looked down and put my hand up to my mastectomy scar. “Yes. I finished treatment a year ago.”

She put her hand up against her mastectomy scar and patted it firmly. “Me too. We’re sisters, you and I.” I smiled … She said “I’m 18 years out from my diagnosis and I think about it every day but I don’t let it stop me from enjoying my life and you shouldn’t either.”

I almost hugged her (except that we were naked in a public shower) but what a lovely thing to say. Wow. Makes me tear up when I think about it.

10755825_1502051463377474_2128354543_nI’ve also been hanging out with Dwight a lot. :)

Both of Dwight’s humans work full time jobs and so he’s home alone quite a bit so I offered my babysitting services.

I try and take the boys to Willows Beach whenever possible. It’s my fav place to go because they can be off leash and you don’t have to worry about cars. Basically it’s dog Nirvana… especially right now because there is a dead seal on the beach and Fergus LOVES to roll in dead things.

What a couple of jerks. :)

So despite the fact that my car has a mild odour of dead seal … life smells pretty sweet right now.

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SO Delicious

Oh boy … SO Delicious sent me some samples of their new holiday coconut milks and they are DELICIOUS!! Most of the holiday nogs on the market are soy-based so I was SUPER excited to try these because they are soy-free (I’m allergic).

-3MINT CHOCOLATE:
Well … I mean… Mint + Chocolate always equals delicious. You can’t go wrong. I loved it. A perfect blend. Not too sweet.

I poured a glass for Gerry and I to share/taste test and I ended up drinking the whole thing. Ha ha.

NOG:
Really nice. I found it a little too sweet for me but Gerry said “This is the best fake nog I’ve ever drank“. So there ya go. He is going to try it tonight with some rum. Yummers.

PUMPKIN SPICE:
This was my fav of the three. It’s not too sweet and it’s rich and creamy and has a nice natural pumpkin flavour. I am going to try making pancakes with it tomorrow. YUM!

-7The best part is that SO Delicious sent me some Free Product Coupons to share with you!!

COUPONS ARE NOW GONE!!
So the first 2x people to e-mail me their mailing address will get these coupons and can try these festive milks for themselves.

It’s a HOLIDAY MIRACLE!  :)

Posted in Go Vegan! | 6 Comments

Raccoon Tail

Last night at 3am while I lay on the sofa with insomnia I posted on my Instagram feed a carefully cropped photo of a woman I saw the other day wearing a racoon tail as a fashion statement and I called her a “Loser Fur-Hag“. Some of you were upset by my comments and said that as a vegan I should have been more compassionate and I shouldn’t have insta-shamed her.

10727256_733869546697353_505236859_nOk. I hear you. I hear that my words could be hurtful … but when I saw that dismembered tail hanging from the back of her pants my thoughts weren’t of that woman’s feelings. All my thoughts were of that poor beautiful racoon that was hunted, murdered and cut up into pieces for a fashion statement.

Most people think of racoons as nuisance animals and like rats, crows and squirrels they are murdered every day without any thought because they are encroaching on our space. Well … truth is we are encroaching on their space and they are just trying to survive in an environment that no longer includes them. We have paved paradise and put up a parking lot.

I spend 99% of my day patiently being compassionate towards people in my surroundings who are not vegan. Throughout my day I try and plant hopeful and positive seeds of vegan change in a gentle and non-judgy way but every once in a while when I see someone being so utterly overt with their lack of compassion towards animals I lose my shit.

Cute-Raccoon-Image-07Truth be told – when I looked at this raccoon tail – all I see is my dog’s tail. Can you imagine if someone walked up to Fergus, chopped off his tail and wore it as a fashion statement?

To me – it’s the same crime. Dog = cat = racoon = chinchilla and seeing that tail hanging of the butt off that ignorant woman made my blood boil.

We did such good work in the late 80’s/90’s shedding light onto the horrors of the fur industry. Fur wearing was on a steady decline because of our radical action towards the industry. Where is that now? What is this generation of compassionate humans doing to stop the fur trade? From what I see in pop culture – fur as a fashion statement is bigger than ever. That means we as a community are failing. Maybe it’s time for all of us to step up our activism.

We need to be the voice for animals!!!

I’m not saying that my insta-post was good or bad – I’m just saying it is what it is. Using a pejorative term like “fur-hag” isn’t the nicest thing I could say – but I challenge you to take a look at your own instagram feed. Are you making fun of hipsters with beards? Are you mocking Renee Zellwegers face? Are you bashing a restaurant because your meal wasn’t perfect?

You don’t have to like everything I post on Instagram but I am entitled to my opinion. I mean … it can’t all be about cute dogs, food and selfies. ;)

Posted in Go Vegan! | 29 Comments

Class of ’86

I saw my friend Leslie a few months back and she gave me some negatives from our Grade 12 Grad. I took them down to London Drugs and had them turned into photos. When’s the last time you did that?? ;)

In amongst the photos of pastel prom dresses and ill fitting tuxedos were a couple of photos of me and my grad date Todd.

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It’s SO COOL seeing these photos. Up until today I  only have one grainy Polaroid of us dressed up for grad – so seeing these photos 28 years later is such a trip!!

My dress was hand-sewn by the wardrobe mistress at my Dad’s theater company. I pulled out photos from various vintage magazines and showed her what I wanted. It fit me like a glove. The rhinestone necklace is something I still have and wear.

It’s no wonder that when Todd and I walked into the ballroom everyone stopped talking and turned to look at us. We look like heathens with our matching mohawks! :)

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Sarah’s Vegan Guide to Downtown Victoria

screen-captureJust updated Sarah’s Vegan Guide to Downtown Victoria.

Download PDF here!

 

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DIY DNA

10593278_758307684211266_1730592256_nI had a great time at the Thinklandia event DIY/DNA.  :)

I did a short presentation called How My DIY Project Became My Career and then sat on a panel and discussed DIY Culture in Victoria BC. The whole night was so fun …

It’s the first “professional” thing I’ve done since the cancer diagnosis and it was nice to be out and about again and just be my regular vegan superstar self. ha ha.

Below is a transcript of my presentation. We were only allowed 6-10 minutes and I tried to make it brief but I probably could have talked about this subject for 3 hours. Ha ha. Let me know what you think of it. :)

I first want to say that I’m probably going to have a hot flash while I do my presentation. I’m in the throws of menopause and it’s a nightmare. So if you want to see a middle-aged woman have a hot flash. Sit down and enjoy the show.

The number one question I get is “how do I turn my DIY project into my career?” and truth be told I don’t think there is a magic answer. In our case it was a matter of right place/right time but also when someone handed me the ball – I was prepared and I ran with it.

My first cookbook was HIAV but a lot of people don’t know that it actually started as a 50 page zine that we printed and bound ourselves in my living room.

2Behold. The magic of Publisher 98.

We first gave them away as gifts for x-mas and response was so overwhelming that we made 1000 more copies started selling them at punk rock shows and via the internet (which in 1998 was a brand new baby at the time).

We sold out almost immediately and I had a light bulb go off and I naively thought “Let’s get a book deal”. I wrote a cheeky book proposal and we did some research on publishers. It was important to me to have someone Canadian, hopefully a publisher that was local but most importantly I wanted a publisher that had similar politics and wouldn’t stifle our message about veganism because even though on the surface it looks like just a cookbook – it’s actually is a political manifesto about vegansim and with it we are trying to end animal suffering but we are presenting it in a fun and appetizing way because it’s a cookbook.

So we sent out 6 or so book proposals but in truth there was only one publishing house that we wanted and that was Arsenal Pulp in Vancouver. We put all the book proposals in the mailbox but the Arsenal envelope we saved for last. We even kissed it before we put it in the mailbox. And 3 days later Brian Lam from Arsenal Pulp called with an offer to publish our book.

I don’t think that’s how it normally happens but …I really think we got lucky with right place/right time but because we were prepared HIAV became the best selling book Arsenal Pulp has had to date and that success begat our second book Garden of Vegan.

10After Garden of Vegan – Tanya decided to leave our partnership to pursue a career in nursing and I decided to keep riding the vegan wave. My solo book La Dolce Vegan was a huge success and then came Vegan A Go-Go, 2 years of Go Vegan calendars and an iphone app called Go Vegan w/Sarah Kramer.

After 10+ years of writing books I decided I wanted to take a little break from writing and stretch some other creative muscles so I opened Sarah’s Place – which was a vegan lifestyle boutique in Market Square in 2011.

So while I don’t think there is one way to turn your DIY project into a career – I would like to share with you a few of the most important lessons I’ve learned in the last 15 years of being a vegan superstar.

12I know it doesn’t sound very punk rock to have a lawyer but if you decide to go into business for yourself – whether it’s to be a vegan cookbook author or an artist or to open up your own business. Eventually you’re will need a lawyer.

When I opened Sarah’s Place (my little vegan boutique) Market Square handed me a lease was over 75 pages long and as thick as a phonebook.

You need a lawyer who can make sure you’re not signing something you can’t get out of. I can’t tell you how many of my friends have called me freaking out because they signed some shitty book deal.

They were SO flattered to be offered a book deal that they didn’t even bother to read the contract. You have to have someone look at the contract and make sure it’s something you actually want to sign.

13I know it doesn’t sound very punk rock to have a business plan. But I have found that anytime you start a new project having a business plan is very handy.

Every single project I’ve worked on starts with me daydreaming with a pad of paper and a pen. Having a business plan allows you to streamline your idea and when it’s down on paper you can refer back to it when you’re feeling lost and you can make sure you’re headed towards your original goal.

14When you start a business plan – you have to ask What Is The Goal? As creative people we are all bubbling over with ideas so it’s important when you start a new project to have a specific goal in mind so you can boil your ideas down to a simple condensed idea.

Your business plan doesn’t have to be fancy. It can be as simple as a list of things things that are important to you.

For example with HIAV and all my other cookbooks I knew that my audience wasn’t just punk rock vegans. My goal was to make the vegan lifestyle simple, not intimidating and most importantly accessible to everyone no matter where you live.

So if you lived in San Fran or Vancouver or Regina Saskatchewan these were easy to make recipes with easy to find ingredients. You could go to Safeway and get everything you needed for a well balanced vegan meal.

The same when we opened Tattoo Zoo. We wanted to create a shop that catered to EVERYONE not just cool kids. We wanted your daughter, your mother and your grandmother to feel comfortable in our shop and we want to give you a beautiful quality tattoo.

Same with Sarah’s Place. My goal was to serve an under served client-base in town and on the web. I also wanted a business that was related to my cookbooks. I wanted to support and promote vegan products. About 80% of what i sold was made by people that I know and almost everything was hand made or made by someone who was making a cool product that also happened to be vegan. And lastly I wanted a place where I could bring my dog to work.

15Whatever project you are working on – make it special. When I started writing cookbooks I realized that there are a thousand and one cookbooks in the marketplace and I didn’t want to be like everyone else.

I spent a lot of time looking at other cookbooks and made a list of what I liked and more importantly what I didn’t like – then I added it to my business plan so that when it came time to work on the cookbook I had a clear vision of what I wanted and I was able to voice my vision when working with the Arsenal team. I wanted to do something recognizable as a cookbook but also unique.

I saw Paul Smith (the UK mensware designer) talking about his work and how he looks for that “squirt of lemon” in everything he does and it really resonates with me.

You know when you might go on a lovely holiday and everything’s perfect and then on the last night you’re putting some lemon on your meal and some juice goes in your eye.

THAT’S the thing when you’re telling your friends about your holiday. THAT’S the story you lead with. The time you got lemon in your eye.

With everything you create you have got to have something that people go away with and remember. Ask yourself “where’s the squirt of lemon?” If you don’t see it … you have more daydreaming to do.

16The thing you need to always remember is that with any project of any scale – you are going to run into roadblocks but what you do with the roadblocks will determine your success.

The trick is to not panic (easier said then done) and to remember that these roadblocks are actually a blessing and they will push you in a direction you weren’t expecting. But your product will always better for it. I promise you.

So if you don’t panic. Give yourself time to daydream up a creative solution. Try to remember that you need to be a little flexible – but don’t worry – because if you know what your goal is – and you’ve done your homework with the businesses plan  – you won’t lose your way – I promise you it always works out in the end as long as you keep moving forward towards your goal.

17If you take away one “squirt of lemon” from me tonight I hope that it’s this. TRUST THE PROCESS. This is my mantra for everything I do.

I think one thing that holds a lot of people back from completing projects is fear.

Fear of failure. Fear of not being smart enough or not being good enough or cool enough of not having enough education or not enough money.

10691923_693432434073274_1207985495_nMy advice to you is to say “fuck it”. Seriously. Fuck fear. Let it go.

You have to trust the process. Whatever that is for you. Every single one of us has a way of processing information and then expressing it through whatever creative outlet we choose and your job is to figure out what works best for you.

For me? It’s about daydreaming. I used to think I was lazy but now I recognize that laying around staring at the clouds is part of my process.

Like I said before I write all my ideas down onto a pad of paper. Even the crazy ideas and I look at it like a puzzle. This piece fits here and this piece fits here – and as the project starts to come together – everything starts to fit. I don’t think about the final product when I’m daydreaming but I do think about the goal. What is the goal? And then I trust my process.

And it might not look like how everyone else does it but it doesn’t matter because it works for me. You need to figure out what works for you.

19My last piece of advice is to get Critical Illness insurance. Again. it doesn’t sound very punk rock to go talk to someone about life insurance but as self-employed people in a creative field (most of us do not have the proper insurance).

My husband and I are both self employed and we decided we needed to make sure our family was protected. We NEVER thought we would need to cash it in but in Jan of 2013 I found a lump in my right breast that turned out to be breast cancer. Because we had purchased Critical Illness insurance I was able to to use that money to close up my beloved Sarah’s Place store without burdening my family’s finances.

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We packed everything up and put it into storage so I could focus on the cancer treatment that I needed to do.

If we didn’t have Critical Illness insurance – it could have easily bankrupted us and ruined my husbands business.

So my final piece of advice is if you have a lump – go get it checked out but make sure you have a Critical Illness policy first. Take care of yourself and your family.

Thank you so much.

Posted in Go Vegan! | 5 Comments

Thinklandia

screen-captureOh boy!! This is exciting!! I’ve been invited to be a part of Thinklandia!

I’ll be on the “DIY DNA” panel, Sept. 6th!

Click HERE for a little interview with me and info on the event. :)

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Plotzing!!

How awesome are these drawings done by Maria Bolton I’m plotzing!! :)

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Bye bye Ativan…

Getting off of #Ativan has not been easy. I’ve done a slowwww taper for the last few months and last night was my first night Ativan free. It was a fretful uncomfortable night but I did it!!

I am thankful for the Ativan. It got me through the worst parts of my cancer treatment and gave me the ability to sleep at night but I didn’t expect it to be so difficult to stop taking.

I’m also thankful for the advice of my friend Sho who suggested I talk to my pharmacist for advice.

They recommended the slow taper and gave me a schedule to follow.

I have a whole new perspective on drug addiction… Woof.

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